Album Review – Somehow Jo! / Satans of Swing (2015)

Get ready to dance to the interesting mix of Alternative Rock and Heavy Metal by this fresh and groovy Finnish band.

Rating4

SHJ_ISO_KANSI_2When I got the new Somehow Jo! album to write the review and I was told by my friend it was an alternative rock band, I must confess I was a little bit scared or concerned for this is not my kind of music. It turns out that I was surprised when I listened to it, as you “forget” about labeling the music and start paying attention to the quality of the songs, to the lyrics which go from funny to intense, to how they show different kinds of music in a short time and to how well-produced it is.

So, for those who are not familiar with the band yet, Somehow Jo! are a band formed in 2009, in the city of Tampere, Finland, and after releasing two EP’s they are finally ready to show the world their debut full-length album, Satans of Swing. There is an interesting fact about this album: according to their press-release, the “album was recorded live, because the band wanted to avoid triggering and interfering organic audio”. Recorded at Headline Recording Studio in Tampere, produced by Ari Pietilä and mastered by Teemu Kinnunen, you can feel how pure and raw every track sounds.

Still according to their press-release, “the band’s ideology is to tell people about loss, giving, open-mindedness, equality, anger, love, freedom, relaxing, questioning the future, encounter prejudices and facing difficulties”. And you find everything in this album, starting from the opening track, Next King. The first surprise is how well Christian Saurén, the vocalist, mixes moments of clean and screaming vocals – of course, this can be heard throughout the entire album. This song has a really nice rhythm, is groovy and has a heavy guitar solo. You know those songs that are nice to listen at a bar, while sipping a cold beer? This is the case in the next one, Lovesong, with highlights to the awesome work on drums and bass – they lead the song from the most alternative rock music to much heavier moments naturally. Godbye is a calmer song compared to the others, but still heavy at some moments, and it has a pretty cool harmony among the musicians responsible for the backing vocals, giving it a good old vibe.

Hatesong is different from everything else in the album: it is possible to find touches of Hard Rock, Alternative Rock, Heavy Metal and Metalcore in it. It gives you that impression of “I’ve heard something like this before” and yet it is totally new, making it one of the most interesting compositions of the album. Fool has a lot of rhythm and that chorus that will make you hate yourself singing it all day long (“This is what I do, my darling, this is what I do / Baby I still miss you but I won’t be coming back to you / This is what I do, my darling, this is what I do / I’m so sorry that I made you feel like fool”). It would be interesting to see a live video of this song showcasing the interaction between the band and the audience, but in the meantime you can check its official video clip below. Great Sex & Red Wine is one of the heaviest songs of the album, where its guitars are simply amazing and its drums play an important role in the construction of the melody.

SHJ_PROMO_MEDThe strongest attribute in Hellhole Bar are its guitar riffs, which somehow resemble old 60’s rock, but the rest of the elements are kind of confusing, which did not result in good unity as a whole. On the other hand, Beginning still brings old fashioned elements, especially its bass lines and backing vocals, mixing those with new elements like screaming vocals, and the result is pretty interesting.

To finish the album, the title-track, Satans of Swing, brings more Heavy Metal moments and a very special guest: Noora Luohimo, the mighty vocalist of Battle Beast. And they could not have chosen a better female vocalist to this task for she fits perfectly to the heaviness of this melody. Noora herself was very pleased to work with Somehow Jo!, as she declared to the band’s website: “I gotta say that the recording session with Somehow Jo! was one of the highlights of my life and I enjoyed working with them enormously. Above it all, the song ‘Satans of Swing’ kicks ass and so do the guys of the band. Love you Somehow Jo!, keep on rocking!”. Definitely, this is a pretty different song from what we have heard so far from Somehow Jo! and also completely distinct from the work of Noora with Battle Beast.

After nine tracks and a little more than half an hour, this band makes you ask for more and more of their music, as time flies in a very pleasant way while listening to this album. Interested in more information? Check for updates on their official Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram pages. And, of course, you can purchase Satans of Swing on iTunesRecord Shop XInverse Store, and at many other locations. Satans of Swing is a really interesting piece of work, and it does not matter what kind of music you like, this is pure Rock N’ Roll for those who want to have a good time.

Best moments of the album: Lovesong, Hatesong, Fool and Satans of Swing.

Worst moments of the album: Godbye and Hellhole Bar.

Released in 2015 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Next King 3:38
2. Lovesong 3:32
3. Godbye 4:45
4. Hatesong 3:51
5. Fool 4:50
6. Great Sex & Red Wine 3:20
7. Hellhole Bar 3:55
8. Beginning 2:40
9. Satans of Swing (feat. Noora Louhimo) 6:13

Band members
Christian Saurén – vocals, guitars
Sakari Karjalainen – guitars, backing vocals
Eero Aaltonen – bass, backing vocals
Lassi Peiponen – drums

Additional musicians
Noora Louhimo – female vocals on “Satans of Swing”
Cardinal Satan – additional guitars, banjo, tambour

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